Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Judges and Judiciary

Judicial Independence: Two Westerns and a Promise By Hon. Ron Spears February 2014 Column, Page 98 Sometimes judges have to make a lonely stand against the majority.
Implicit Bias in the Courts By Justice Michael B. Hyman January 2014 Article, Page 40 Implicit bias and stereotypes can affect the fairness of legal proceedings. It's important for lawyers and judges to examine unconscious attitudes and their hidden dangers.
‘Aim for the Top’ By Ed Finkel November 2013 Article, Page 564 After a four-decade ascent through all levels of the Illinois court system, Rita Garman becomes Illinois's second female chief justice.
“Test the waters” doctrine not an appropriate supplement to substitution-of-judge analysis November 2013 Illinois Law Update, Page 560 On September 11, 2013, the Fourth District Appellate Court held that orders for scheduling and continuances are not substantial rulings that would allow for the denial of a motion for substitution of a judge as of right.
Access to Justice Commission strives to open courts to the poor, disabled By Adam W. Lasker December 2012 Lawpulse, Page 626 The new supreme-court-appointed commission is working to improve access to the courts for people living in poverty or who have disabilities and language barriers.
Are statewide, standardized court forms coming to Illinois? By Adam W. Lasker December 2012 Lawpulse, Page 626 Illinois is one of only two states without court-approved standardized forms for pro se litigants and others to use. That might be about to change.
The High Price of Low Funding By Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride November 2012 Article, Page 587 While courts must be frugal, the other branches have a responsibility to adequately fund our justice system, Illinois' chief justice says.
Why Adequate Court Funding Continues to be an ISBA Priority By John E. Thies November 2012 Column, Page 572 Bar associations and the lawyers they serve must promote adequate funding.
The Case for Reform of Illinois Judicial Disqualification Standards By John E. Thies September 2012 Column, Page 456 It's time we implemented commonsense, fair rules on recusal.
Perception is Reality: Recusal and Judicial Campaign Contributions By Maria Kantzavelos September 2012 Article, Page 468 An ISBA special committee is exploring the role of campaign contributions in judicial elections and whether recusal standards should be changed.
Co-parties lack standing to appeal substitution-of-judge rulings By Adam W. Lasker March 2012 Lawpulse, Page 126 The Illinois Supreme Court holds in Powell v Dean Foods that a defendant does not have standing on appeal to challenge the ruling on a co-defendant's motion for substitution of judge.
Correspondence from Our Readers December 2011 Column, Page 598 What judges know about family law.
Substitution of judge for cause: the high court keeps the bar high By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2011 Lawpulse, Page 604 The supreme court refused an invitation to hold that "appearance of impropriety," as opposed to proof of actual prejudice, is the standard for substitution of judge for cause.
A Judge’s Obligation to Learn the Law By H. Joseph Gitlin October 2011 Column, Page 537 Judicial discretion gives judges tremendous power - and a heavy responsibility.
A judge’s perspective on pro se litigants By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2011 Lawpulse, Page 280 How far may - and should, and must - a judge go in helping a pro se litigant have his or her day in court?
What Price Justice? The County Board Wants to Know By Hon. Ron Spears May 2011 Column, Page 260 How much process is due a criminal defendant? It's a dollars-and-cents question.
Mandatory performance evaluations for circuit, associate judges By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2011 Lawpulse, Page 174 A new Illinois Supreme Court rule requires trial judges to submit to confidential performance evaluations.
Surviving the Death of Oral Argument By Gino L. DiVito April 2011 Article, Page 188 A retired appellate justice offers his view of what can be done to assure full and fair vetting of cases in a post-oral-argument world.
What judges want By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2011 Lawpulse, Page 174 You'll make your judge happy - or at least less unhappy - if you learn some of the unwritten rules that vary by type of case presented and by region.
“He Remembers His Roots” By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2011 Article, Page 76 A former legal aid lawyer and sole practitioner from rural beginnings settles into the role of Illinois' chief justice.
Correspondence from Our Readers January 2011 Column, Page 6 Another approach to judicial selection
Judicial Selection in Illinois: A Third Way By Gino L. DiVito December 2010 Article, Page 624 Judicial elections? Merit selection? While the decades-old debate continues, a former judge proposes a constitutional amendment that represents a third way.
The hard work of running for judge By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2010 Lawpulse, Page 446 It's an exhausting and expensive undertaking, and the odds are often against you.
Judicial evaluations - a necessary pain in the neck By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2010 Lawpulse, Page 446 Like them or hate them, few judicial candidates dare ignore them.
So You Want to Be a Judge? By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2010 Article, Page 456 High status, great money, no practice-management headaches - what lawyer wouldn't want to be a judge? What lawyer indeed, which is why it's a hard gig to get.
Substitution of Judge as of Right: When Is it Too Late? By Marie C. Fahnert and Tracey Daniels August 2010 Article, Page 422 Substituting a judge as of right - even fairly well into your case - is easier than you might think, and easier in some appellate districts than others. Here's a review.
Judicial Versus Legislative Authority after Lebron By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness June 2010 Column, Page 324 The med-mal caps ruling continues the age-old battle over separation of powers.
A judge’s guide to drafting orders By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2010 Lawpulse, Page 230 A bankruptcy judge's 18 guidelines for drafting orders are a surprise hit on the blawgging circuit.
Recipe or Disaster? Checklists Can Help By Hon. Ron Spears May 2010 Column, Page 268 Checklists can help us reduce avoidable errors.
Although a trial court’s failure to rule on a motion in limine may constitute an abuse of discretion, a harmless error will not overturn a ruling. October 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 496 On July 24, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County, holding that the trial court did not err when it deferred ruling on the defendant’s motion in limine until after he testified.